Dr. Choo of the Zoology Department at O‘ahu University has made it his life’s work to investigate sightings and stories about various cryptids around the world. Some of the more famous creatures he’s looked into are Bigfoot, Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Jersey Devil.
Of course these cryptids are the thing of myth, not science, but Dr. Choo has pursued his research into them for the sheer joy of doing so. He goes into each journey full well understanding that there is very hardly a likelihood he would encounter any of these entities in the real world.
Dr. Choo had just returned from his latest journey of discovery, so I rang him up at the university and asked if I might stop by to do a write-up for my paper. Every time he comes back, I like to tell the story for our readers. They say all the time how much they enjoy the updates on Dr. Choo’s adventures.
That afternoon we sat down for coffee, and I could tell right away there was something different about him.
“Doctor Choo,” I said, “it was China you went to this time, is that correct?”
He nodded slowly. It was as if he were having a hard time coming up with the right words to say.
Then, “Yes, yes, China this time. I’d long been interested in turning my attention to a creature referred to as the Chinese Yeti.”
He stirred his coffee mesmerically. His hand trembled slightly.
“As legend has it, this creature, called the Yeren, has wandered the upper regions of Hubei Province ever since anyone can recall.”
He took a sip of his coffee, blowing on it first for what seemed an inordinate amount to time. Then, “This Yeren, or Yeh Ren, is more commonly called the Chinese Wild Man, or more simply, the Wild Man.”
Looking over at me, he tried to say something, but words failed him. He glanced at the ceiling. I could see his Adam’s apple bob up and down as he swallowed hard.
“This Wild Man,” he said looking at his coffee again, “is described as gorilla-like in appearance, and of very large stature. Very powerfully built.”
Again there was a long pause. The man did not look well.
“I’d seen numerous drawings of him, and there were the usual array of supposed photographs, all of which amounted to the typical pile of blurry prints.”
“Of course,” I said, “that’s the way it always goes, isn’t it.”
He looked at me. It was a queer look, more of a premonitory one. A slight chill ran down my spine.
“Yes,” said Dr. Choo, “yes. That’s usually so.”
He sipped again.
“I’d collected quite a few statements from people who claimed to have seen the Wild Man. All were colorful enough, and the details of their recounting were really quite detailed. How the Wild Man had walked, or eaten, or bathed. It was really all very compelling. There were a few photos of we couldn’t tell what, naturally, but of course the proof would always be in seeing the cryptid for oneself. And as you know, I’ve yet to see real, hard evidence of the existence of any cryptid I’ve ever sought out.”
“Yes, of course,” I said, encouraging him forward.
“One night my wife and I were camping – I’ve told you how my wife accompanies me on these expeditions, right?”
“At any rate, one night the two of us were in our tent way out in the backcountry of Hubei Province, when I was awakened by my wife screaming. Leaping out of my sleeping bag, I saw her being dragged out the front flaps. I dove grasping for her hand, but missed. Clambering to my feet again, I ran outside, and there he was, fully illuminated by the campfire light, looking at me, this giant ape, maybe seven feet tall, with my screaming wife tossed over his shoulder.”
I sat rapt in his tale.
“And then,” Dr. Choo continued, “the Wild Man turned and took off into the night with my wife. It was all too unbelievable. I stood there stunned. Finally coming back to myself, I gave pursuit. Of course we were in heavy forest, and it was pitch black. There was no way on earth I had a chance of locating either the Wild Man or my wife.”
I sat stunned. “Doctor Choo,” I said, “Do you mean that the Wild Man took off with your wife and she is gone?”
“Disappeared, quite,” he nodded, tears coming to his eyes. “I and the authorities searched the forest for weeks. There was no sign either of the Wild Man or my wife. Finally, with great sorrow, I gave up the search and returned home.”
I didn’t want to seem indelicate, but my reporter’s instinct kicked in. “Doctor Choo, I don’t suppose that by any chance you got any photos of this Wild Man?”
He gave me a surprised look. Angry, he said, “You mean of him abducting my wife? It all happened so fast, man. I mean, the very last thing on my mind was grabbing my camera to document the savage beating it off into the bush with my wife.”
“Of course, I’m sorry. I’m terribly sorry about your wife. Will you go back?”
“To look for the Wild Man?”
“No no, to continue the search for your wife.”
Professor Choo drained his coffee cup. “I don’t think I will. I don’t think I can. The loss of my wife has been much too painful to bear. Returning to Hubei Province, well, I really couldn’t face that place again. Ever.”
“Yes, of course, again, I’m so sorry for your loss.”
The following summer, Dr. Choo went to Lake Okanagan, Canada in search of evidence about the Ogopogo monster. As always, I asked for an interview when he returned. Arriving at his office, I saw a beautiful young woman was just leaving.
“Was that one of your students?” I asked.
“Angela?” he said. “Yes, well, she was.” He laughed. “She was a brilliant student. So bright in fact that I just had to marry her.”
“Oh, I see,” I said. “Did she go with you on this trip?”
“Yes, of course,” said Dr. Choo. “Why, she’s always been as interested as I in hunting down cryptids.”